Freshfel event: discussion on Farm-to-Fork: pesticides, new genomic techniques, sustainable food systems, environmental labelling

20 MAY 2022
On 18 May FRUCOM attended the annual Freshfel event.
Mr. Franc Bogovic, the member of the Parliament’ Committee on Agriculture, highlighted his institution’s position on F2F: while it agreed with the Commission’s proposal, it refused to include specific target levels on pesticide or fertilizers’ reduction. A farmer himself and a former Minister for agriculture in Slovenia, he thinks It is important to give farmers adequate tools, including pesticides, also in some organic production. In the current economic situation, a drop in usage is already the case, due to costs of inputs. He insisted on the need for understanding and reflecting market realities in this political discussion.
Claire Bury, Deputy Director General of the European Commission, did insist on the need to have reduction levels in place. This will be set in the upcoming legislation on sustainable use of pesticides. The Commission is well aware the farmers need tools, that is why it is simplifying the process for authorizing low risk pesticides. All actors in the food chain need to share the costs, including the middlemen in her opinion, and the consumers made aware why they will have to pay more.
Despite many calls for postponement of the Green Deal and F2F in the current political context, the Commission intends to go ahead, as the sustainability concerns will not go away.
She also mentioned the upcoming Commission proposal on sustainable food systems framework initiative, now subject to an open public consultation. She believes the Commission can’t find a solution to address economic, environmental and social concerns at the same time, this must be done in co-ordination with the various business organisations.
Ms. Bury mentioned the new genomic techniques. The Commission wants to go ahead with this, although she thinks the agreement will not be easy and will require political courage in the Parliament.
During question and answer session, a participant from the German retail Rewe wished the Commission would progress fast on legislation on environmental labelling standard. Eco-score should not meet the fate of nutri-score, which failed for lack of a political agreement and gave way to a plethora of discordant schemes across the EU. He invited the Commission to speak with the stakeholders who have been building their approach to sustainability over the last 10 years.
We wish to thank Freshfel for the invitation.